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Homicide by Blunt Trauma in Brescia County (Northern Italy) Between 1982 and 2012

Verzeletti, Andrea MD; Bin, Paola MD; De Ferrari, Francesco MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 62–67
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000080
Original Articles

Blunt force injuries are produced by a variety of objects, including hands and feet (which is human strength) and many different weapons. Some of these objects produce distinctive patterns of injury of potential evidentiary value. This article presents a series of 53 homicides by blunt trauma along the period from 1982 to 2012, representing 16% of all homicides treated by the University Institute of Forensic Medicine in Brescia (northern Italy). Fifty-seven percent (30 cases) of the victims were male. The mean age of the victims was 47.9 years. The weapon most frequently involved was human strength. Not surprisingly, head trauma was the most common cause of death (66%). Forty-seven percent (25 cases) of the victims survived their assaults for varying periods. Homicides due to blunt trauma are still a relevant challenge for the forensic pathologist, who must obtain a complete and accurate history of the crime (including details regarding the crime scene), interpret patterns of injury and other findings at autopsy, and correlate all of the findings to make an accurate ruling of the cause and manner of death.

From the Istituto di Medicina Legale, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Manuscript received February 24, 2013; accepted August 25, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Andrea Verzeletti, Istituto di Medicina Legale, Università degli Studi di Brescia, Piazzale Spedali Civili 1, 25123 Brescia, Italy. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.